How to Visit a Hospitalized Patient

Two Parts:Taking something with youVisiting the patient

When someone you know is admitted to the hospital, it is a very stressful time for you and the hospitalized person. Especially if the patient is a child, the hospital can be a frightening and bewildering residence. When you visit a friend or loved one in hospital, he or she greatly appreciates it and it can relieve copious amounts of pressure, sorrow and confusion.

Part 1
Taking something with you

  1. Image titled Visit a Hospitalized Patient Step 1
    Choose an appropriate gift. Here are some ideas:
    • Flowers (most common choice): However, make sure your friend is not allergic to the flowers in the bunch. You can also bring in fake flowers the favourite colour of the patient you are visiting.
    • 'Get Well Soon' card: You can pick one up at a local department or paper media store. Write a heartfelt message of sympathy. A balloon with a hearty message on it can make a nice touch.
    • Food: Food in the hospital can get quite dismal, and sometimes patients want to have their favourite treats close by for comfort. Choose such food as: Chocolate bars, fruit, poptarts, granola bars, candies, cookies, etc.
    • Treasured items: If the patient you are visiting is a child, re-accommodate them with their favourite blankie or teddy bear that they left at home)
    • Stuffed bear (another great choice for children): This is another common way to express sympathy and evoke some hope for the patient and it gives them something to hold if things get tough.
    • Book: This is a great time killer for an older person. If the patient likes sports or hobbies (such as motorbikes or gaming), or cooking/craft, you could also buy them a magazine that will interest them, to help make the time pass by faster.
    Don't overdo the presents. Keep in mind that lots of other people will also be sending gifts and flowers.
    Image titled Visit a Hospitalized Patient Step 2
  2. Image titled Visit a Hospitalized Patient Step 3
    Find out whether there are things you can bring that the patient needs. Perhaps the patient left in a rush and some favorite clothes, glasses or a warm top was left at home. Or, there might be things you can buy on the way to the hospital, such as a pillow, headrest, iTunes voucher, crossword puzzle book, etc.

Part 2
Visiting the patient

  1. Image titled Visit a Hospitalized Patient Step 4
    Locate the patient. Arrive at the hospital and ask one of the nurses where the person's room is. Some hospitals have volunteers at the front desk who can help you find room numbers and locate the patient you wish to visit in their ward.
    • Ask ahead of visiting when visitor hours are. Also find out how long you can stay with the patient. This will impact your parking choices, as well as giving you an idea of how long you can expect to spend with the patient.
  2. Image titled Visit a Hospitalized Patient Step 5
    Walk quietly into the room. If the person is awake, say "Hi", and hand them the gifts.
    • If the person is asleep, don't wake them up. They need the rest. However, if you have time, you might like to simply sit there with the person. They might wake up while you're there.
  3. 3
    Talk quietly. You can talk about whatever you want, but just be mindful of other patients who might be around, in case they are resting.
    • Funny stories are a good way to cheer the patient up. This can even involve other patients too; for example, tell a story about your boss at work doing something funny.


  • If the person you are visiting says they want to be alone, respect their wishes.
  • If, for any reason, doctors come in to perform an examination, leave the room and wait patiently. If the doctors only come in for a brief chat, feel free to stay and listen, as you could even learn about the patient's condition.
  • If you feel you need to cry, or you're getting mixed emotions, step out for a while. Take some deep breaths, then come back inside when you feel better.
  • Always talk and walk quietly. The last thing your friend needs is unneeded gusto.


  • If someone else is sharing the room with the patient you wish to see, avoid talking about matters of a personal nature. Moreover, don't say anything that would hinder the atmosphere of the room.
  • Avoid wearing overpowering fragrances or cleansers; patients may have allergies or adverse reactions to the odors or chemicals in these items.
  • When conversing with the nurse, or information volunteer concerning the room number, realize that sometimes they are not authorized to give out various information, due to the patient's request, and you'll have to call an immediate family member (if you're not one).
  • Refrain from probing about what has caused them to be in hospital, unless they bring it up first.

Things You'll Need

  • Some kind of gift
  • Food (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Health Care and Medical Information